Enid Blyton commemorative coin blocked because author had ‘homophobic’ views

Children's Author Enid Blyton

Plans to commemorate Enid Blyton on a 50p coin have been blocked by Royal Mint because of the author’s “racist, sexist, homophobic” views.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee is a public body, and the minutes of the meeting were obtained by The Daily Mail via a Freedom of Information request.

According to the newspaper, the minutes read: “she [Blyton] is known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer.

“Deep concern that this theme will bring adverse reaction… concern over the backlash that may result from this.”

Blyton’s stories were first criticised as racist by Lena Jeger in The Guardian in 1966, for her book The Little Black Doll. The story was about a doll who was hated because he was black, until he is “washed clean” by the rain and accepted, and in other stories including Noddy, golliwogs were frequently used as evil characters.

The author’s stories have also been criticised for their portrayal of gender stereotypes, especially the Famous Five series in which George, a “tomboy,” is told that she will never be as good as a real boy.

Royal Mint’s decision to block the Enid Blyton coin has sparked debate online.

Good Morning Britain presenter Richard Madeley said the claims that Blyton was a “racist, sexist homophobe” were “ridiculous”.

He said on the show: “It seems to me that if you were to draw a line in the year 1955 and go backwards from there, you could pretty much pick up anybody based on our modern values and what is acceptable today.

“You could pick up almost anybody on what they said, what they thought, words they used. Obviously there are lines that you cross such as fascism, Hitler, Mussolini, etc, but there are social lines that have changed, and you can’t judge people by the standards of today.”

However, author Matt Haig wrote on Twitter: “Not everyone had Enid Blyton’s values in Enid Blyton’s time. Enid Blyton wrote a book about an ‘ugly’ black doll as late as 1966 that was called out in newspapers at the time.

“Not everyone in the past was dripping in racism and anti-semitism and homophobia to the same extent.”

Earlier this year, Alan Turing was unveiled as the face of the new £50 note.

Royal Mint did not immediately respond to a request for comment.